I try to use the winter months to learn something new, a skill that I am usually too busy to undertake during the summer, when the garden is in bloom and the kids are home from school. Last year, I taught myself how to make some excellent soap, which we are still using… but this year, I wanted to learn more about the art of leaven bread. Without getting fancy, I wanted to understand how to make a basic bread that could be used for sandwiches, toast, dinner rolls, etc….
I drew my inspiration for this recipe from the CIA’s Basic Lean Loaf, which is the standard at our school. I scaled it down and made it 50/50 all-purpose (universal) flour and whole-wheat (I use one that has wheat germ flakes in it). After many tweaks to the exact grams, I don’t even have to sprinkle my work surface with dough. The water/flour ratio is spot on! Since you will probably using a different brand of flour your results should vary only slightly, but please share with me your experiences.
Makes one loaf in a 30cm x 10cm (12″ x 4″) tin
330 g flour ( 50% all-purpose/ 50% whole wheat)
3 – 5 g dry yeast
220g warm water
- Weigh flours and yeast, combine in a bowl. Pour mixture on a clean work surface, create a well in the center.
- Measure water and salt, combine. Swish the water and salt together to speed dissolution.
- Pour water mixture in the well. Pull the flour into the center from the walls of flour well. You want to combine it quickly, so the water is still warm when it touches the yeast.
- Bring the dough together and knead for a few minutes 3 – 5, till it is smooth and a bit sticky to the touch.
- Put dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic or a dish cloth (tea towel) and let rise till doubled about 2 hours.
- After two hours, turn the dough over lightly a few times, while inside the bowl and return to rest till doubled again about 2 hours.
- Take the dough out of the bowl, knead and shape till it will either fit in your tin or in the shape of your free-form loaf or loaves.
- Final rise, not that it is shaped let it rise again till about doubled or it is over the rim of your baking tin. Pre-heat oven to 425C
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. The exterior of the loaf should be firm and crusty, yet when you knock on the exterior it should give off a hollow sound.
- Once you remove it from the oven, remove the tin, if you are using one, so that the steam can escape and not make your bread soggy. Let cool on a wire rack.